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Tricks or Treats: “We Fenced Other Gardens With the Bones of Our Own”

on October 08, 2009, 1:45pm

Let’s use last years introduction, shall we? Once again, as it always is, October is a special month. The leaves change color, Halloween is on everyone’s mind, and the weather is dark and gloomy in many locales. What better way to celebrate the creepiest month of the year with an ongoing feature on some of our favorite spooky, eerie, scary and/or Halloween songs. Yep, it’s back, folks: Tricks or Treats!

Angus Andrew, front man of Berlin-via-New York-via-Los Angeles-via-Australia experimental rock trio Liars always has that sort of manic grin that can either work as a mischievous trickster or as a super-scary psychotic. And the group’s music can often fall into either of those categories. And with a title like “We Fenced Other Gardens With the Bones of Our Own” (and considering the feature this is being filed under),  I bet you can guess which of those two this song can be filed under.

wefenced Tricks or Treats: We Fenced Other Gardens With the Bones of Our OwnThe supremely creepy video for the song begins with an introduction of sorts. The three band members wander through a snowy field, before happening upon some sort of lazer gun. A few seconds later, the three are dead, blood splattering the snow. The camera pans to each one separately as each of drummer Julian Gross’ cymbal clicks begin the song. The rest of the video is eerie to say the least: the guys wake up and start having a zombie snow-fight; Andrew (now wearing a dress) dances slowly in a blood-splattered room; grainy footage of animals fighting is spliced in; the three musicians stand, swinging brooms in time before charging the camera. But, video or no, the song is easily the creepiest part of the equation.

The most constant element of the tune is a chugging, slightly off-kilter drum part heavy on angular, closed hi-hat and thumping tom. This is quickly paired with a rumbling sub-bass sound (likely effected guitar) before Andrew’s tribal moans are added to the mix. After a few minutes of eerie howls, Andrew’s voice, chanting “Take your cauldron and get down” breaks through. At this point it becomes prudent to mention that the album this comes from, They Were Wrong So We Drowned, is a concept album produced after Liars and producer Dave Sitek (of TV on the Radio fame) sifted through tons of non-fiction and fictional accounts of witches and witch hunting.

About five minutes into the song, the instrumentation all falls away, replaced by a chanted refrain of “Fly, fly, the devil’s in your eye, shoot, shoot”. Then, suddenly, the drumming kicks back in, suddenly feeling more frantic, and screams of “We’re doomed! We’re doomed!” fit in between the chants (and in a completely creepy moment in the video, Andrew stares the camera down, hair dangling down over his face, guitarist Aaron Hemphill and Gross frame him on each side. Two minutes later, the song devolves into a squall of crunchy feedback before fading away completely, into a dark, howling emptiness.

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